Crime & Courts

Wichita man fired more than 50 rounds into his walls before SWAT shootout, police say

A man who was killed by Wichita police Thursday fired more than 50 rounds through the walls of his apartment complex, police say.

The man was identified Friday as Fred Burton, 56, of Wichita. Cpt. Brent Allred said the man had a history of police contact for mental health issues and was going through a mental health crisis around 1:55 a.m. Thursday, when the shooting started.

Burton first fired into a shared wall inside his apartment at the MacArthur’s Lake Apartments in the 700 block of West MacArthur. His neighbors on the other side of the wall called police and reported an explosion.

When police went inside their apartment, they recognized bullet holes in the walls and heard more gunshots, leading them to pull back, Allred said. Neighbors were evacuated.

Allred said the neighbors were “extremely lucky” they didn’t get hit because Burton fired about 52 rounds into one wall and at least three rounds into another wall.

The Wichita police Special Weapons and Tactical team, or SWAT, and negotiators were called in, but could not communicate with Burton, who continued shooting, Allred said.

The standoff lasted four hours.

Around 6 a.m., Burton fired a rifle at the SWAT team. Two SWAT members — a sergeant and a detective — returned fire, shooting multiple times and killing Burton, Allred said.

The sergeant, a 15-year veteran of the Wichita Police Department, and the detective, a 13-year veteran, were placed on paid administrative leave, Allred said.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Wichita Police Department are investigating the shooting.

“The KBI assisted in the investigation to provide transparency and to avoid any conflicts of interest,” Allred said.

Allred said he did not know Friday how Burton got a gun.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle